June 29, 2012      

Atlanta-based start-up Tovbot combined technology?s hottest trends?cloud computing, omnipresent networks and advanced smartphones?with robotics know-how from some of the world?s most prestigious institutions to create Shimi, a robotic musical companion.

Shimi is essentially an interactive smart phone dock. Harnessing the sensing and app technology of an Android smartphone, Shimi dances along with the beat as he plays your music, recommends tracks and has the ability to create his own musical compositions.

The musical buddy exhibits uniquely human qualities thanks to Android?s facial and speech detecting algorithms. The robot can even follow a listener around the room and position its ear-like speakers for optimal sound.

Future improvements include making the robot able to recognize gestures: shake your head when you dislike a sound or wave your hand in the air to skip tracks or change the volume. Tovbot also wants to allow developers to create new behaviors for the robot using an API.

The highly marketable bot should be available to consumers by late 2013 at a price point of $100 to $200.

His unveiling this week at Google I/O caused a lot of buzz around both Shimi and the company that developed him.

Shimi was created by Professor Gil Weinberg, director of Georgia Tech?s Center for Music Technology, and his team. He and the rest of the Tovbot crew?formed in 2012?hail from Georgia Tech, IDC in Israel, and MIT Media Lab.

?Shimi is actually the product of nearly a decade of musical robotics research,? Weinberg said.

Shimi is not the first nor will he be the last personal robot to employ musical robotics. We’re betting on this trend to catch on quickly in the commercial arena where music and smartphone technology currently reign supreme.

You can view the similarities between Shimi and his older cousin Shimon, a marimba- playing robot, here: